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How to get from Waikoloa to Volcano Nationl Park

Ft. Collins
8 posts
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How to get from Waikoloa to Volcano Nationl Park

I think we will be staying at the Waikoloa Marriott and want to drive to the Volcano National Park. When I look at the map on Google it says to take the 200 through the center (essentially) of the island. Is that the best way? Or do you really need to take the 11 down and around?

And whichever way is the best, is it really 3 hours one way?

Thanks in advance!

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Waikoloa
Waikoloa
Island of Hawaii, HI
LA
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1. Re: How to get from Waikoloa to Volcano Nationl Park

NO. Do not take 200. The Saddle Road is not that good a route.

Go north from Waikiloa and take 19 over Waimea (Kamuela) down the Hamakua coast. Then take 11 in Hilo.

It will take 3 hours. It is a beautiful drive, so you might want to allow more time to see some of the sights, Akaka Falls, etc.

I much prefer going up and down the Hamakua Coast rather than going south through Kona.

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Saddle Road
Saddle Road
3,151 Reviews
Island of Hawaii, HI
Waimea
Waimea
Island of Hawaii, HI
Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI
Kailua-Kona
Kailua-Kona
Island of Hawaii, HI
Canada
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2. Re: How to get from Waikoloa to Volcano Nationl Park

Take the North Route 19...

Only way to go. Scenic,safe. 3 hours yes This is the Big Island!

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Island of Hawaii...
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3. Re: How to get from Waikoloa to Volcano Nationl Park

Welcome to technology! :):):) Take the advice of humans over the machine. You can save a little time by going up to the upper highway through Waikoloa Village and follow the road through Waimea, Hamakua Coast and Hilo. Make it a full day trip, there are lots of sites you would want to stop at along the way, so leave early.

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Waikoloa
Waikoloa
Island of Hawaii, HI
Waimea
Waimea
Island of Hawaii, HI
Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI
Hawaii
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4. Re: How to get from Waikoloa to Volcano Nationl Park

What Google doesn't take into account are the elevation changes. At least 6000 foot climb from the Marriott, and back to sea level in Hilo, then 4000 foot climb to VNP, that's 16000 feet up and down just one way.

Much better to go around the northern edge, which will save you 6000 feet of up and down (you'll still have 10,000).

If the traffic is light you can make it in 2 hr 45 min but that's without any stops. Be sure to fill your tank, no gas service between Laupahoehoe and Hilo.

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Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI
Ft. Collins
8 posts
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5. Re: How to get from Waikoloa to Volcano Nationl Park

Thanks everyone for the information, I appreciate it! I had a feeling Google was just telling me the shortest way between two points, but not necessarily the best route! :)

seattle
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6. Re: How to get from Waikoloa to Volcano Nationl Park

For us, driving the section of Saddle Road from Hilo to Mauna Key was one of the highlights of our trip. Comparing the coastal route and Saddle Road for scenic value is, for me, the proverbial apples versus oranges comparison. Each is beautiful in its own way. There aren't that many places in the world like the lava desert that Saddle Road goes through. The area has been described as otherworldly. HVNP and this drive gave us a better appreciation of the scope of their effects. But, as in all things in life, due diligence, therefore driving carefully in this case, is important as bad things can happen. As noted already, the difference in driving time is trivial. Not sure what your itinerary during that period is, but, if it is a round trip, an alternate plan is to drive down one way and back the other and experience the contrasting environments.

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Saddle Road
Saddle Road
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Island of Hawaii, HI
Hilo
Hilo
Island of Hawaii, HI
Big Island, Hawaii
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7. Re: How to get from Waikoloa to Volcano Nationl Park

FYI, Saddle Road has been almost completely repaved. Only the first 9 miles are narrow and bumpy. After that it is smooth sailing. And you can also stop off at Mauna Kea on your way. I recently took Saddle road less than two weeks ago. I would take Saddle Road going and then the Hamakua Coast through Waimea on the return. You can stop for dinner at either Thiebaut's or Merriman's in Kamuela. :)

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Saddle Road
Saddle Road
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Mauna Kea
Mauna Kea
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Waimea
Waimea
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8. Re: How to get from Waikoloa to Volcano Nationl Park

Yet despite the repaving, DH just rescued two cars that went off the road on the old section, this week, and my son who drives Saddle regularly says he always sees fresh plowed rock in that section.

The Saddle does have its own beauty, but I think Hamakua is not to be missed.

Part of what makes the Saddle OK to drive is that not so many people use it. By advising people to take it instead of 19 you destroy the one thing that makes it semi-desirable.

If everyone did it I would expect to see some road rage from Saddle Road regulars who don't like to share. (not me, I don't like to drive it unless I have someone with me, which I almost never do when i go to the other side).

Perhaps it's just my luck, but whenever I drive it I encounter some other driver who just about does me in, so I always say a prayer when I take it. Seriously, I do.

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Saddle Road
Saddle Road
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Island of Hawaii, HI
9. Re: How to get from Waikoloa to Volcano Nationl Park

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